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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 May, 2005, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Parry dismisses European question
Rick Parry and Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry has dismissed ongoing talk of the club's chances of playing in next season's Champions League.

The Reds could miss out on a place if they are crowned European champions but finish fifth in the Premiership.

Parry told Five Live's Sportsweek: "It is not an issue that's a live debate - there's a long way to go. If or when the time comes we'll express a view."

But he conceded there was an "element of inconsistency within the rules".

Uefa has said Liverpool are not guaranteed entry into next season's Champions League unless they finish fourth in the Premiership.

Liverpool closed to within three points of Everton in fourth place after drawing with Middlesbrough.

However, their Merseyside rivals have a game in hand and need just four more points from their three remaining games to clinch the final qualification spot.

Liverpool host Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, with the tie standing at 0-0 after the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

With a big game against Chelsea still to come, it's disrespectful to our opponents to speculate on what might or might not happen beyond that
Rick Parry

While Uefa president Lennart Johansson has suggested five places may be opened up to English teams if Liverpool win Europe's premier competition, if it is limited to four the Football Association says the top four in the Premiership will qualify.

Parry believes Uefa should have foreseen such a dilemma and feels it is wrong they have placed the onus on the FA to resolve the issue.

"It's the responsibility of Uefa. I don't think it's appropriate that national associations should be left with extraordinarily difficult decisions," he added.

"It shouldn't be left to discretion and unseemly arguments as to who is more worthy. It should be clear from the outset.

"I think the principle of competition winners being allowed to defend is perfectly sound, but again that should be within the rules of the organisers of the competition.

"We're still playing for fourth place and, so far as the Champions League is concerned, with a big game against Chelsea still to come, it's disrespectful to our opponents to speculate on what might or might not happen beyond that."

Parry also dismissed speculation concerning Steven Gerrard's future.

"We long since stopped taking notice of all the stuff that is being written about Steven," he said.

"We want to keep him and match his ambition. The speculation hasn't been helpful and it has become immensely boring."


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